Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cells
The use of embryonic stem cells, ie cells derived from human embryos that are capable of transforming into other cell types, has been the centre of impassioned public debate since Dolly the sheep was cloned. Too often this debate has had religious overtones, or has focussed on people's gut reactions in the popular media. If human clones were to be considered unethical and thus be banned because they have the identical DNA to somebody currently living, then by that argument, identicial twins, and anyone who, however improbably, had the same DNA as another person, ought also be considered unethical. This is clearly a fallacious argument.
It is necessary that the debate on human cloning should continue, but in a civilised, rational society it must be free of subjectivity and zealous appeals to people’s emotions and fears.
In the spirit of rational debate, it is important that alternative arguments, if objectively framed, be expressed. This section explores many of the arguments for human cloning, or my particularly, why the arguments against human cloning are poor. A strong case was made for rational argument in the debate on human cloning in a Submission to an Australian House of Representatives Inquiry, also at Submission 37 of the Inquiry website. The articles below comprised a subsequent Submission to the Legislation Review of Australia’s Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002.